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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover

UMMAGUMMA

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 1640 ratings

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Roj
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
4 stars As I've been listening to this album for some 30 years now, I feel qualified to give a reasonable opinion. This is of course much different from the easily recognisable Floyd from the mid to late 70s.

The album is split in 2. One disc is live, recorded at Manchester and Birmingham in 1969, the other is a studio disc, with each band member contributing a quarter of the material.

I will start with the studio disc, which for me is the poorer by some way. The quality is very inconsistent. The sections of Richard Wright and Nick Mason are in the majority quite dreadful. With the exception of the opening minute or so, Part 1 of Wright's Sysyphus is a jumbled mess, although things do improve on parts 2-4. Mason's contribution is certainly avant garde, but may be a bit too weird for most tastes. The sound of a toothbrush being rolled around a beaker are a bit extreme for me! It is amusing, but I have to say that these days I do not listen to either Mason or Wright's sections.

Fortunately, Waters and particularly Gilmour rescue the situation. Waters' Grantchester Meadows is a lovely acoustic pastoral piece, which always reminds me of a lovely English summers day. As I write this in deepest January, that would be very nice! Several Species is hilarious, complete with the wierdest possible sound effects, and an indecipherable Scotsman. Again, this piece may be a bit too much for many. Gilmour's The Narrow Way, in 3 sections, is a fine, normal piece of music, which would not have been out of place on Meddle. Gilmour's guitar work is tremendous throughout.

The live disc is absolutely superb. Four classic tracks, all of which are much better than their studio versions. It is stunning to hear how tight the band were, the guitar and keyboards blending as one to create heavenly and shivering sounds which drift across the listener. This is surely one of space rock's finest moments. Wright's majestic organ playing really stands out, showing just how important he was to the Floyd sound. It is difficult to pick a favourite from the live disc, each is equally brilliant. However, I will single out the floating middle section of Set The Controls... as my personal highlight. Gilmour and Wright produce possibly the most amazing spacey section of music that I have heard.

Rating this album is tough. I would give the studio disc perhaps 2-2.5 stars and the live album easily 5 stars. Therefore, as the live disc is SO good, I will award 4 stars on the whole. As far as space rock is concerned, this is an essential album.

Roj | 4/5 |

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